Dramatic plays fill doubleheader with Bacone
Abair, Coburn, Krock: "Glove is a many splendored thing!"
Monday twinbill; Lady Lions host Hillsdale at 2:00pm
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University lost both ends of a Saturday twinbill against Bacone College, 16-3 and 3-2, though the games did not lack for drama and emotion.
The Lady Lions were not able to prevent their losing streak from growing to twelve. During those dozen contests they have produced an average of 1.7 runs, which has left little room for a young defense.
Still, the team turned in a number of memorable plays in the field, all of them with their gloves.
GAME ONE Review
The end of the first game gave a prelude of what was to come in the next game.
Blayr Huff (Keller, Texas / Liberty Christian ), the third pitcher the Purple Pride sent to the circle, tossed the last two innings, allowing a run in the fourth before a 1-2-3 fifth. The fourth ended when catcher Heather Wyatt (Lake Jackson, Tx / Brazoswood HS) threw out a baserunner who tried to catch the defense by surprise.
Huff retired the first batter in the fifth, freezing her on the third strike. The ensuing batter, Kelli Costello, smashed a drive down the leftfield line that was stamped for extra bases.
Out of the blue came Bethany Krock (San Antonio, Tx / Cornerstone Christian), who jetted to make a sensational, knee-high, running catch after fully extending her body.
It was one of the few bright spots for Team Purp, who yielded 19 hits in the first four innings. They gave up just one walk and made only two errors, though hitting the cutoff man was a rarity during the Tribe’s hit parade.
SAGU totaled seven hits, two apiece from Huff and Shannen Nance (Enid, Ok / Kremlin-Hillsdale HS), who both drove in a run. Nance rapped five hits in the three-game weekend series.
Feliciana Maldonado (Victorville, CA / Victor Valley ) led off with a single to right, advanced to third on a sharp single by Kelsey Coburn (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS), and scored on a base hit to left by Huff.
The Warriors (17-18, 15-6 in RRAC), who are third in the Red River Athletic Conference, scored six, four and five runs in innings one, two and three.
SAGU answered with two in the bottom of the third. Huff jumpstarted the rally when she sliced a double to left, the first player on the team to get a hit since her single in the first.
Nance knocked her in with a single through the left side. A flair off the bat of Wyatt landed between two outfielders, moving Nance to third. A walk to Ashley Abair (Kennedale, Tx / Kennedale HS) walked to load the bases.
Cassandra Mata (Crystal City, Tx / Crystal City HS) did likewise, hobbling to first to force in Nance. She was then instructed to step off the base for an automatic out to prevent her from having to remain on base.
The Lady Lions had no one to run for her, so they voluntarily ended the inning. Mata was playing with an injured ankle.
SAGU’s second year team has endured a shortage of players this season, due in part to injuries. With Mata, they had only nine suited up for the doubleheader. Without her, they would have forfeited both games.
As a spatula does to flapjacks, the second game was completely turned over.
GAME TWO Recap
Pitcher Abair got the start and she had it going from the beginning. Flawless through three innings, she sat down nine straight, five on grounders.
Meanwhile, the Lions were not having any success against the Warriors’ Jeri Paulson. The senior was making her debut on the hill.
Maldonado led off the third by stroking a looping liner over the second baseman’s head. Krock laid down a bunt towards third that Paulson mishandled.
Coburn, the team’s top run producer (.412, 2 HR, 25 RBI), then ripped a shot to centerfield. Maldonado rounded third and beat the throw with a slide at the plate as Krock scooted to third.
Kasey Poovey (Nevada, Tx / Community HS) then 'dialed 9 for long distance,' lifting a deep fly to left-center that could’ve cleared the barrier if not for the wind. The sacrifice fly sent 'Maldo' home for a 2-0 lead.
A late decision to have Coburn tag in a bid to take second proved costly as she was thrown out easily. The rally ended on a grounder in the hole.
Paulson bore down after that, permitting only a fourth inning single to Nance. Seven ground outs and two pop-ups staved off the Lady Lions attack.
Poovey was the only batter of the final 15 to knock the ball out of the infield. She made solid contact in all three of her trips to the dish, each resulting in the 'rawhide being given a joyride.'
Before she got her third chance, Bacone, with the top of the order coming to bat, came to life in the top of the sixth.
Costello and Karina Watson, who combined for five of their team’s eight hits, both singled to left. Krissy Froelich (FRAY-lee) hit a squibber that spun like a cue ball past Abair to put runners on each base with no outs.
The sophomore hurler had her back against the wall. She badly needed a stand. Three times this season the Lady Lions got away unscathed in similar situations.
Facing the Warriors RBI leader in third baseman Tarah Moutray (.426, 6 HR, 30 RBI) appeared to be the game’s pivotal moment. She turned on an inside pitch and hit a one-hop smash down the line that Coburn, who was guarding the line, gloved one-step in front of Costello.
Coburn alertly tagged the runner, then stepped on the bag to complete a double play, tagging Watson just to be sure.
On the verge of dodging the bullet, SAGU then yielded three consecutive hits; the first to right-center, the second to the gap in left-center and the last one to centerfield. The Warriors took full advantage of the outfield’s limited mobility in the middle, scoring runs on each for a 3-2 lead.
Poovey, a sophomore shortstop, led off the bottom of the inning. She hammered a pitch earmarked for the fence. As it sailed over the head of Rhiannon Bean, the leftfielder.
Unlike the namesake in Stevie Nicks' song, who is a prominent figure in Welsh mythology, this Rhiannon was real. Real good.
She reached over her shoulder to snare the ball like a wide receiver, robbing Poovey of a potential game-changing extra-base hit.
Paulson sat down the next two on grounders.
Bacone looked to add some insurance in the seventh.
Krock rocks with 'Catch of the Year'
A walk and a couple of infield singles jammed the bags, again with no outs. Abair coaxed Froelich into a shallow fly to bring Moutray (MOO-tray) to the plate with a second occasion to drive in runs.
What happened next will live in Lady Lions lore for years to come.
Moutray waited for a pitch to her liking. She found one, and launched it deep into a sun splashed sky. Wow! Two eggs over easy with a side of bacon, it was a Grand Slam, gone!
Retreating to the fence was freshman Krock (pictured, right). A two-sport player at SAGU; she was named the women’s basketball defensive player of the year, leapt at the barrier with her glove going above the yellow capping.
The ball cleared the top. Krock’s glove, stretched backward - nearly horizontal, just enough to snag the fluorescent sphere in the webbing! She withdrew her arm and looked inside the glove (voila!) to see the ball, which was partially showing akin to a snow cone!
Krock had the presence in mind to make a throw back to the infield to double-up a baserunner to complete a scintillating twin-killing!
Not Giving Up or In, Lions are Going "All Out"
Unfortunately, Coach Tim Grant’s gutsy team was unable to mount a comeback in the seventh to reward Abair, Coburn and Krock for their glove gems.
A team’s play when things are going against them, similar to the men’s baseball Lions, says much about the character and heart of the players and the leadership of the coach. They are still playing hard!
To view the team's current statistics on the NAIA website, click on the following link, or copy it and paste it in your web browser.
Double-scoop of softball at home on Monday
SAGU will host Oklahoma’s Hillsdale College (there is also one in Michigan) on Monday in a 2:00pm doubleheader.
The Pride has a three-game trip to Austin this weekend where they will meet Huston-Tillotson University (1-13, 1-17 in RRAC).
The regular season ends with a home tilt on Wednesday, April 23, against Northwood University (17-13, 12-2 in RRAC).
Should SAGU regroup to grab some wins during their final six tries, they still can receive an invitation to the NCCAA* Central Regional, April 26-27, in Conway, Arkansas.
Central Baptist College will host the double-elimination tourney. The Mustangs were ranked No. 5 in the NCCAA last week with a 21-9 record.
No. 10 Oklahoma Wesleyan University, at 19-12, is currently the second best team in the Central.
*National Christian College Athletic Association